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HBO has given a pilot order to a drama from “12 Years a Slave” helmer Steve McQueen and scribe Matthew Michael Carnahan.

“Codes of Conduct” revolves around a young African-American man who enters New York high society but his past may not be what it seems. The project will be toplined by Devon Terrell (pictured), a Long Beach native who grew up in Perth, Australia where he has studied acting and recently attended the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art.

McQueen and Carnahan are co-writing the script and exec producing with Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Russell Simmons. McQueen will direct the pilot.

McQueen said the casting process for the ambiguous lead character of Beverly Snow was exhaustive. “Codes” has been in the works at HBO for more than a year.

“Devon had this quality,” McQueen said. “It was no easy task casting the character of Beverly Snow and, with the help of HBO, we left no stone unturned. This was a ten-month intense process in which we came across many talented actors, but only one Beverly.”